We always did our Christmas tree in reds and whites, for no particular reason. It just happened. We would always put a red bow on the top. Not an angel, not a star… for no particular reason. It’s just the way we wanted it.

Steve would assemble the tree and then I would fluff the branches and hang the ornaments. He would critique it from the sofa. I was never offended because we always wanted it to look great and not weak on any limb.

Today, I put the tree together and couldn’t decide if I just wanted to leave it with just the lights or hang out ornaments. It looked festive from the street with just the lights, so I thought, okay, my work is done! Then our daughter, Janelle, mailed me a package for Christmas.

I knew it was for Christmas, so I should have waited, but I didn’t. I opened it.

Someone told me to open it… it was Steve.

Inside was a custom ornament that read “Side by side or miles apart, family will always be close at heart.” There was an outline on the left of Pennsylvania (where I live) and on the right was an outline of California (where she lives) with a heart and line connecting the two states. It made me melt. But there was more…

Back story… two weeks after Steve passed away in May, our daughter, Marlies, who has special needs, unearthed a hand written post it from Steve.

We’ve all left those notes… love notes… little snippets of why we love each other, even if we follow up with a request that they can’t say no to.

For example: “Honey, you know you’re the reason I love coming home every day, you always smell great… but don’t forget the trash goes out tonight.” How can they say no?

Steve’s note said:

Theresa,
For you to remember me when I am gon. Hears to a great job.
Love,

Me.

Now I know what you’re thinking… he was not a good speller. But that didn’t matter, I understood the message. This note told me how much he loved his retirement job… grounds maintenance at a local country club. When he was working, he still always thought of me and how happy he was doing what he did to provide for us.

Janelle took this note and had it copied and framed, in his handwriting… for me.. what a special gift!

I’ve come across several of these little notes we would leave each other in the most important place for us to discover… I’d put them in his lunch bag… attach them to his rear view mirror… I came across a “special recipe “ in his recipe box. Our kids will really laugh and enjoy that later… way later!

But, you know what, that’s okay. Because they’ll know how much we loved each other and kept it alive.

Isn’t every day a special day… a holiday… a day to celebrate life… love… every day decor…

I’ve decided not to put the bow on the top of the tree this year. Steve will be our Angel there this year and when I look at the top of the tree… I’ll see him … my Angel.

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